posted by EskayDota,
With 16 heroes in a game, the possibilities for this bizarre tournament seem endless.

The rules

Two teams load in to a game and pick the usual 5 heroes, and an extra three to spare. They’re able to switch between these heroes every three minutes, and only from within the fountain. While this seems like it might be a cheesy game mechanic, it plays far further into tactics than it initially lets on.

Taking place on the 19th and 20th of October at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London, what are the tactics that we hope to see from the tournament?

Goodbye Alchemist

The nature of the rules places value on farm efficient heroes. As a result of the 3 minute cool-down, there’s no real point in picking heroes to abuse ultimates. There's no simple way to combine ultimates from substituted heroes as it requires a trip back to the fountain. There's less point in picking heroes with high cool-down ultimates, as you'll simply be able to use them less throughout the game.

Early theory crafting for the event suggests that Alchemist will be the most in demand hero, so will likely be the first banned for most teams. Farming an incredibly early radiance and treads, then being able to switch to Spectre 12 minutes into the game – it leaves the enemy team in a rather uncomprimising position.

The Chemical Rage loading screen by Valve

How to benefit from the switch

The most in demand heroes for cores will likely be the ones with some form of farm acceleration, or flash farming that can be substituted out for a more preferable hero in the later game. Whether that farm acceleration comes from kills or creep camps, these will be the heroes that launch a different hero into a strong mid game.

Meepo, Alchemist and Medusa are amongst the cores with the highest GPMs and XPMs naturally, and all have some way of farming more efficiently, or gaining experience faster. However, heroes with levels that can farm regardless of items, e.g. a Storm Spirit, Tinker and Natures Prophet could provide useful injections of gold into the pocket of a support.

Support heroes that provide a lasting effect when the hero is substituted off may also prove to be useful. A support player with an Aghanim’s would benefit greatly from being able to switch between heroes such as Zeus and Treant, providing vision with Eye of the Forest and Nimbus after a switch. This information-type or aghs based strategy could be something we see.

Heroes like Weaver with big XP gain talents at the level 10 mark might also be a nice substitute hero to keep a hold of. A support struggling with levels might want to spend some time power-levelling off of a team fight or creep camps in order to bring themselves back up to speed.

The strats to come

The last factor to consider is items. As players maintain their items between heroes, it will be interesting to see how players deal with unconventional item builds. We could see teams drafting heroes with similar item choices, or perhaps a "straight-swap" for specific heroes, with the aim of 3/5 players on the team not using the substitute feature.

With under two weeks to the event, which team will come up with a crazy enough strat to take home the win? Only time will tell.

What do you think contributes to a winning strategy? Have your say in the comments below.

  • EskayDota


    Sam Kennard
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